They say you can't go home again. I am not sure who "they" are but they are right in some ways. This is true in my case anyway. I moved away in 2006 and have gone home to visit a handful of times and I am always in amazement of the changes that happen. New stores, roads, and houses all over. It feels different and you can feel a bit out of place.
But then you meet up with your friends and laugh so hard you lose your breath. Those friends that you haven't spoken to in a year or seen in three. But you get out of the truck and cry when you see them and talk like you never left.
This is coming home.
The laughs of your kids playing and running around the yard even though they just met (that they can remember.
That is coming home.
The feeling you have when you reconnect can't be explained, they know you. You don't even have to "catch up" because your laugh and smiles do it for you. I can't explain how having these friends makes a difference. I needed these laughs more than I realized. Leaving them is going to be hard on me.
Then you drive that country road again, the one you used to race on (well I did), cry on, drive around with friends on, and you remember the feeling of coming home. Driving by the Ohio river and watching the barges, waves, and trees.
That is coming home.
They are right, I can't go home again. My parents do not live in my hometown anymore, so I stay with my Aunt and it feels like home. Sweet tea, lightning bugs, laughs, and humidity with late night conversations and love.
I have so much to say about my middle school teachers and the love and support they have shown me. That will be a blog for another day, but they believe in me more than I believe in myself some days. I mean who else had their old teachers throw a bridal shower and advocate for your book to get into schools (which has not been easy on them). Well, this is coming home. They have become family and the love I have for them can't be explained. So never forget that as a teacher you have the opportunity to make a difference everyday and that can last a lifetime.
I had a book signing at the local library. When it was scheduled, the librarian told me that "not many will come." I thought, that is ok, I know a few will. Well, my hometown showed me support that I don't have in other places. It was a crowd, I was nervous, but so many familiar faces came to support me. I was able to hug people that helped me as a child growing up in Meigs county. Teachers, family friends, cousins, some I have never met before. The local paper came to interview me and I felt so supported and loved.
This is coming home again.
So no, you can't go back to that childhood that built us, and some may not want to. But the good feelings and support of a small hometown cannot be replaced.
I love my small town roots, and they run deep. My accent has returned and my love tank has filled. It really is the little things that make a difference. Don't lose those roots, they built you, they made the foundation to grow into what you set your mind to. I never thought I would be living in Montana, working with students and publishing a book.
I was supposed to be a veterinarian, but thank God for unanswered prayers because I am right where I am meant to be.